Roaming Rome

Baths of Caracalla - 1889

Baths of Caracalla, Rome: design for a proposed reconstruction of the Tepidarium

Baths of Caracalla: design for a proposed reconstruction of the Tepidarium, circa 1889
Artist: George Aitchison
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections 

It was Palladio who first drew attention to the Baths of Caracalla, and a rediscovery of his drawings began the Palladian Revival in early 18th-century Britain. While Palladio concentrated on form rather than colour, the exteriors and interiors of antiquity were a riot of mosaics and wall paintings.

George Aitchison returned to the baths, rendering this interior in a wealth of brightly coloured marbles. The large painting was intended for use in the Royal Academy lectures given by Aitchison on Roman architecture. These types of drawing were highly influential on many of London's grand polychromic Victorian interiors, like those seen at Leighton House in London. 

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